Things to Do in
Due to the worldwide pandemic, please check for destination travel restrictions prior to visiting/booking
With 100+ islands, 400+ bridges, winding canals, grand squares, narrow alleyways, and varied architecture, Venice is a labyrinth of photographic paradise. We were all instantly charmed and felt the pull to explore every nook and cranny. It was hard to know where to point the camera as every step we took was filled with visual intrigue.
Visit Saint Mark's Square. An impressive square with the Doge Palace (old seat of government), Saint Mark’s Bascilica whic is visually stunnning, St. Mark’s (zodiac) clock, Campanile di San Marco (bell tower of Saint Mark) which has sweeping panoramic views of the city from the top.
Visit St. Mark's Basilica. Entrance is free, but there are fees during holidays or to special parts of the basilica complex, such as the Saint Mark's museum, Pala d'Oro, the Bell Tower, and the Treasury. The line for Saint Mark’s Baslica was practically out of the square when it opened at 9:00am. This would be a good use of a few extra euros for the skip the line ticket. Keep in mind they only have the lights on the frescos briefly during the day so check the schedule for the best time to plan your visit.
Cross the Rialto Bridge. This is the main bridge crossing Venice's Grand Canal since 1591. Here you will find shops and the famous Rialto Market. Go early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
Photograph the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. It is one of the best known and most photographed churches in Venice.
See the Bridge of Sighs (it connects the Doge's Palace with the Prigioni (prisons). According to legend, a couple that kisses under the bridge while drifting below on a gondola at sunset will enjoy eternal love.
Get lost among the narrow shop lined streets of Venice. You won't ever be very lost but be careful, many of the streets end in a canal.
Worth the Money
Take Gondola ride. A bit contrived and pricey but hey, it’s Venice and this 30 minute float through the canals should be done once in your life! The former dwellings of Marco Polo and Casanova were on our route.
Go to the top of St. Mark’s Campanile for beautiful views of the city and water. The line to go up St. Mark’s Campanile was essentially nonexistent when it opened at 8:30 am (of course check the times as they vary by season). Do not buy the skip the line ticket at a high price if you can be there early. There is no dress code for the tower visit. The views are worth the cost of admission! The bells inside the tower right above your head will clang on the hour, so time your descent accordingly.
Tips for Visiting
In a quest to recommend the best tiramisu in Venice, we sampled our way through the city. The best traditional tiramisu we found in Venice was from I Tre Mercanti, a tiramisu specialty shop. Our other favorite tiramisu came from the Teatro Italia grocery store (Stabinger brand).
Same with gelato, and our favorite was from Gelato di Natura.
If you're looking for pizza, try Atre Della Pizza. Sold by the slice at a reasonable price and the thick, soft crust was amazing. The veggie, zucchini, and pepperoni were that family faves.
Go out early. If you are visiting during prime tourist time (summer), the narrow alleys and bridges get crowded quickly. It is best to do sightseeing, gondola rides and shopping early on.
Don’t pay for the bathroom, pay for gelato. The cost of a scoop or two of gelato for the family is the same cost or cheaper than the public restrooms and you can get WiFi and a cold, creamy scoop of your favorite flavor at the same time.
This is a walkable city and you don’t need a water taxi for the main tourist areas. You also won’t do well with street addresses because Venice isn’t set up like a traditional city with streets and numbers. Instead, use a GPS smart phone maps app to pick a route through the streets to your destination. Make a few wrong turns and find some alleys that lead to the water just for fun.